The Parents' Association (PA) employs Il Cielo, a local company, to run the canteen and cafeteria service at the ESM. Il Cielo, in partnership with the school and the PA, provides a daily lunch to pupils, teachers and staff in the canteen, as well as a snack service at the cafeteria.
Beyond providing a warm midday meal, the lunch service mission is to nurture a culture of healthy eating and conscious food choices, combining good taste with nutrition and care for each other and our planet. The PA's choice of a local family-run company preparing 100 per cent organically certified meals with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal foods grown regionally, and offering fair trade products at the cafeteria, strengthens an ecologically and socially sustainable, fair food system.
Lunch for the Kindergarten pupils consists of a salad or raw vegetables, a main dish with a side dish and a dessert. Menu plans may be found in Il Cielo's website. When filling out the subscription form, parents may choose for their children between a vegetarian meal plan and a meal plan including meat/fish.
Kindergarten pupils dine with their teachers at the Kindergarten in two shifts, at 12:30 and 13:15. The Kindergarten team nurtures responsible eating and respect for food by entrusting the children to serve themselves from bowls of food set on the tables and by encouraging them to taste all the foods.
Lunch is served in a free flow system, in which pupils do not order a specific meal beforehand but choose from the available dishes. Lunch consists of a salad, a main dish (with soup as one side-dish option) and dessert. Alternatively to a main dish, pupils may choose a large salad. Every day pupils have a choice of main and side dishes including at least one vegetarian option, and these are served by the Il Cielo staff. Though pre-prepared plates are available to speed the flow through the service area during rush times, pupils are encouraged to speak with the staff if they would like something different (for example, sauce on the side or a combination of dishes or side dishes). Pupils may serve themselves from a salad bar stocked with several salads, salad ingredients and bread. They may choose one dessert from a dessert bar which contains fresh fruit as well as other desserts, such as pudding, quark or lightly sweetened cakes. Children may substitute salad with a fruit. Very hungry pupils may bring their plates back to the service area for second servings of main and side dishes.
A uniform price concept was established by the Parents' Association for the sake of simplicity, with the understanding that the children will have a chance to use the lunch service for all their years of school.
In the cafeteria, older pupils relax and socialise in a light and airy modern room, with outdoor seating available when weather permits. The friendly Il Cielo staff sells milk and yogurt, "Schorles", coffee (older pupils only), smoothies, "Müslis", fruit, warm and cold snacks and sandwiches, and a selection of baked goods and sweets. Younger pupils may make purchases, but seating is reserved for pupils in the 4th year of the Secondary School and older.
Time and structural constraints are a challenge, and the smooth operation of the service depends on the cooperation of many people in the school community. Il Cielo, with the support of the parents' representatives and the school, is always looking for ways to better adapt the food service to the needs and wishes of ESM pupils, for which pupils' suggestions and constructive feedback are welcome. In order to help the Il Cielo team better understand pupils' needs and wishes and to help pupils understand the possibilities, challenges and limits of the food service, the Il Cielo staff and parent members of the canteen committee will be happy to meet with pupils or other members of the school community. A box in the canteen is also available for feedback.
The PA is responsible for setting up and monitoring the school canteen service. In addition, the PA promotes the goal of healthy, sustainable eating at school through cooperation with the school management, teachers, and the Educational Committee.
Through a tender process completed in 2009, the PA chose the local company Il Cielo to run the canteen and cafeteria. The tender documents produced by the PA express the PA's purpose to promote an ecologically and socially sustainable, fair school food service, and the documents establish minimum guidelines, e.g. for organic foods. The documents also express support for a school food service which integrates pupils, parents, teachers, and other members of the school community, including them, for example, in the supervision of younger pupils or in the planning of menus.
Il Cielo is responsible for all aspects of food preparation and cleaning in the kitchen. The school arranges the cleaning of the canteen area, and they do this in cooperation with Il Cielo and the school cleaning company. The school is responsible for setting up lunch times and arranging for supervision of the pupils.
A canteen committee consisting of eight members has an advisory function and meets at least once every half-year. The committee consists of the School Director, the School Manager, a teacher representative from the Secondary School, a teacher representative from the Primary School, two pupil representatives, and two parent representatives. Other members of the school community, school food service providers, or external experts such as a nutritionist may be invited to attend meetings.